How to Monetize Your Website
Given the massive popularity of blogs as a cultural phenomenon, many people now wonder how it is possible to earn money from their own websites. Most have heard the stories of people who were able to quit their jobs after starting a website with little more than a computer and an idea. However, some see such stories as an anomaly, an extremely low-probability event akin to winning the lottery.
Of course, it is not easy to build a website that is able to make you a significant income; in fact, it is very hard work that requires a dedicated webmaster. However, you might be surprised to learn that it is actually quite simple to set up your website to begin earning money for you. Even better, much of this work can be handled via pre-existing utilities and programs so that all you have to do is focus on the content of your website, not the logistics of monetary transactions. As such, you can potentially earn money all day long without any additional effort on your part.
Overwhelmingly, the most popular way to monetize a website is through advertising. In 2010, advertisers spent $26 billion to promote their products and services online, and this is only expected to grow in the future. Simply put, the Internet is awash in advertising dollars, and if you build an interesting website that filled with solid content, some of that advertising revenue could be yours.
The question still remains as to how you can actually attract advertisers to your site. This is a particularly vexing problem since many websites do not have a large audience, making it unattractive to most advertisers. Thankfully, this is a question that has no need for an answer because Google will do all the work of finding advertisers for you.
Google AdSense is a wildly popular free affiliate program in which Google does all the back-end advertising work for you: attracting advertisers, serving ads and collecting payment. The only thing you have to do is add a small piece of code to the website where you want the advertisements to appear. After that -- hopefully -- you can just sit back and watch advertising money pour into your bank account.
Unfortunately, things are rarely quite that easy. Although adding advertisements to your website takes only a few minutes, making money from those advertisements can be far more challenging. Adsense uses a pay-per-click advertising model, which means that an advertiser will only pay for an ad when someone actually clicks on it. Since the click-through rate of most online ads is pretty low – at most, a few percent of all visitors will click on a given ad – you will need to have a lot of visitors to your website in order to make a substantial income.
Some website owners fail to appreciate this fact when they first start using AdSense, and are disappointed to find that their first month's advertising income adds up to only a few dollars. The problem is only exacerbated by Google's share of the advertising revenue it takes to cover its own expenses: 32 percent for content ads and 49 percent for search ads.
AdSense is a great way for people to easily add advertising to their websites, but it is not a panacea. You will still have to put in a lot of work to attract people to your website; without a large audience, your advertising revenue will never be worth the effort you expend to create the site. However, if you do create a site that takes off, your income potential is almost unlimited through online advertising.
Of course, advertising is not the only way to make money on your website; in fact, there are several additional strategies that can be just as lucrative to website owners. One popular alternative to traditional advertising is affiliate marketing, in which you use your Website to promote another company's products or services. In return, that company pays you a percentage of the revenue from customers you send to them.
Although this may sound like more work on your part, the rewards can be worth it since, when done correctly, affiliate marketing will not even looking like advertising. This is because affiliate marketing can be added directly to the content of your website as if it was your own; this is in marked contrast to banner ads, which are distinct from the rest of your website and clearly distinguishable as advertising.
One of the most popular affiliate marketing programs is Amazon Associates, which allows you to advertise Amazon's full range of products, such as books, music and movies. You can do this in a variety of creative ways, such as a top ten list of your favorite books or movies, a resource directory for people interested in a specific topic or a shopping guide for a variety of occasions. The key is to include such affiliate links naturally in a post or article. By doing this, you add valuable information for your readers while simultaneously making money for your efforts.
Advertising and affiliate marketing only scratch the surface of what is possible when it comes to making money with your website. Premium content, direct marketing, sponsored posts and simple donations are other ways that you can potentially monetize your website. When making a decision about which strategy to pursue, it is important to consider the method that will be most conducive to making money for your specific situation; there is no single right answer to this question. Often you will need to combine several strategies in order to diversify your income streams, thereby increasing your chances for ultimate success.
- Google AdSense Official Site
- Google Describes Its Revenue Model for AdSense
- Growth in the Online Advertising Industry
- One Man's Experience with AdSense
- Another Description of Making Money Through Blogging
- Amazon's Affiliate Marketing Program
- Lessons from a Successful Amazon Affiliate